Logo: Civics Inquiry Lesson Plans
Illustration of diverse people of various ethnicities with We the People overlayed on their faces.

Who Are We the People?

Written in 1787, the Constitution has only been amended 27 times in more than 230 years. That’s not to say the document the Framers created was perfect. Its most glaring errors include the omission of recognition for all citizens and a failure to halt slavery. In this lesson, students will examine how the definition of “We the People” has evolved since the beginning of this grand experiment in democracy.

Lesson Overview

Middle School
Two-day lesson, including one summative assessment
We the People Level 2
  • Lesson 25: How Has the Right to Vote Expanded Since the Constitution Was Adopted?
College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework
  • D2.Civ.8.6-8. Analyze ideas and principles contained in the founding documents of the United States, and explain how they influence the social and political system.
  • D2.His.1.6-8. Analyze connections among events and developments in broader historical contexts.
Educating for American Democracy Roadmap
Theme 1: Civic Participation
  • History Driving Questions: What forms does civic participation take? Who has access to different forms of participation, and how has that access changed over time?
Theme 4: A New Government & Constitution
  • History Driving Questions: How did debates about the new U.S. government play out among those who were not formally incorporated in decision-making?
  • Commitment to justice
  • Equality, and fairness
  • Concern for the welfare of others
  • Civility
  • Social responsibility
Students will develop their responsible decision-making by identifying problems and analyzing situations with regard to the ways our Constitution has evolved and will practice ethical responsibility in identifying citizen groups that still lack representation in “We the People.”
  • Identify which citizen groups were denied representation in the Constitution.
  • Explain how the Constitution has evolved in its representation of citizen groups.
  • Defend their position on whether all citizens are recognized in We the People.
  • Students demonstrate their understanding of ways our Constitution has evolved by defending their position on whether all citizens are recognized in “We the People” via a social media post.
  • Teachers may assess by using the assessment rubric.
  • Students will participate in self-reflection by completing the Inquiry Reflection Tool.

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